Banner for the 4-H Horse Farm
Home4-H Horse Farm:  Chincoteague Pony Dreams
4-H T.V. The horse Channel
Play the Movie "Chincoteague Pony Dreams" Chincoteague Pony Dreams
Play Movie - 3.9MB
Requires QuickTime
Mallory has read the Misty stories and dreams of a pony of her own
The famous Chincoteague ponies actually live on neighboring Assateague Island on Virginia's eastern shore. The ponies are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, which holds a grazing permit for a herd of 150 ponies in the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

Several theories have evolved of how the ponies happened to be on the island. Some believe that the ponies swam ashore from a shipwrecked Spanish ship. Others believe that pirates deposited the ponies on the island along with other treasure. Still others think that the ponies are simply descendents of livestock that was owned by local residents.

However they came to live on the eastern shore, the ponies have become legendary due in no small part to a series of stories by Marguerite Henry, beginning with Misty of Chincoteague, written in 1947. The title character, Misty, was based on the Chincoteague pony that Ms. Henry bought at the annual pony auction, which occurs the last Thursday in July each year.

The pony swim and auction began in 1924. In recent years, around 40,000 people visit Chincoteague during this annual event. The day before the auction (Wednesday) is when the ponies swim from their home on Assateague Island across a channel to Chincoteague. Locals refer to the event as the "pony penning." After the ponies swim, they are placed in pens to await the auction.

The pony herd is actually rounded up on Assateague three times a year for veterinary care. Fire Company volunteers also check on the ponies every other week throughout the year. Even though they are well cared for, these are wild ponies. It may take twice as long to train them as it does ponies that are not born and raised in the wild, but they can become tame and make excellent riding ponies and family pets.

Chincoteague ponies are a recognized breed. Those who purchase ponies at the auction may register them with the Chincoteague Pony Association.

Like thousands of girls and boys around the world, Mallory has read the Misty stories and dreams of a pony of her own. Join Mallory on her trip to Chincoteague.
Virginia Cooperative ExtensionLink to the 4H for Kids SiteLink to the 4-H Virtual Farm